MEDFORD – The men’s squash team is in the midst of one of their most successful seasons in recent history and will look to carry that into the NESCAC Championships this Friday through Sunday at Trinity and Wesleyan. With a very young team, the Jumbos will hope that their fresh look will help them achieve their best NESCAC finish ever. Here is everything you need to know for the weekend:
WHO TO WATCH:
The Jumbos lineup is nearly made up of all freshmen and sophomores. Junior captain Danny Fischer is the lone upperclassman on the Jumbos roster, and will look to provide leadership this weekend for the many that do not have much championship experience.
The Jumbos sophomore class has been a staple in the Jumbos lineup all season. Sophomore Braden Chiulli has played in the first and second positions this season, but has found himself at the top of the Jumbos line up lately. Classmates Alec Goodrich has played in most of the Jumbos matches this season, compiling an 8-3 record and winning the last six times he has taken the court for the Jumbos. Most of those wins have come in the eighth position.
Joining the sophomore class as Jumbos with experience are also John Patrick and Sandeep Rishi. Rishi is 4-1 this season, but he has won in the Jumbos last three matches. Patrick has a 4-3 record this season, playing in the seventh, eighth and ninth positions for the Jumbos.
The Jumbos also have added a strong freshman class. Rookie Cameron Ewan has played in all 12 of the Jumbos matches this season, anywhere from the first spot to the fourth position, and has 6-6 record in his rookie campaign. Classmate Alan Litman has also been a constant at the top of the Jumbos line up this year, owning a 7-4 record and playing in any of the top three positions.
Rookies Matt Memmo, Aidan Porges, Brett Raskopf and Imran Trehan have all played consistent roles for the Jumbos this year as well and will be looking to have a great first NESCAC Championship experience this weekend. Porges is 8-4 this season and has played most in the third through fifth positions. Trehan is 7-4, taking the courts anywhere from the fourth position to the seventh position. Memmo and Raskopf have also combined to turn in eight wins for the Jumbos this semester.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
The Jumbos are ranked No. 27 in the most recent College Squash Association rankings. With Hamilton at No. 28 and Connecticut College at No. 29, the Jumbos are ahead of those two and behind No. 22 Amherst, No. 21 Bowdoin, No. 20 Colby, No. 19 Wesleyan, No. 18 Williams, No. 17 Bates, No. 15 Middlebury and No. 1 Trinity.
Trinity will be looking to win their tenth straight conference championship and currently have an unblemished 14-0 record this season. Middlebury is the second seed in the conference tournament and has a 10-3 record while Bates has drawn the third seed in the tournament with a 9-6 overall record this year.
Playing with some tough conference competition the Jumbos have have had their work cut out for them with conference teams. But, the men picked up NESCAC wins this year for the first time since the 2010-11 season, knocking off Connecticut College and Hamilton and earning their highest seed in the conference tournament since 2010.
First up for the Jumbos will be eighth seeded Amherst on Friday at 4:30 pm. The Purple and White are 4-6 this year, but more recently 2-6 in the month of January, falling to Middlebury, Navy, Colby, Bates, Wesleyan and Williams. The last time the two teams faced off was during the 2011-12 season in the NESCAC Tournament when Amherst won, 8-1.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:
“The team is really excited to compete in the tournament this weekend. We are ranked the highest we’ve ever been in the NECSAC in my three years on the team, and it feels good to have something to show for our hard work. We’ve been working hard to keep up fitness and focus after the holiday break, and the addition of coach Maxwell to our staff has given us a fresh perspective on our goals for the end of the season. We face a tough opponent in Amherst this Friday, but as always, we will work hard and give 100%. We have a young team with only two upperclassmen, so this will be a great experience and will certainly help prepare us for nationals.” --junior captain Danny Fischer
“The men’s team is young and hungry. There are no seniors on the team and the lineup is dominated by freshmen who have quickly adapted to the pace and physicality of college squash. Our practice sessions have increased in intensity, and I am very much looking forward to the passion they will bring to the courts in the NESCAC tournament and the national team tournament.” --head coach Joe McManus
HOW THE TOURNAMENT WORKS:
The No. 9 seeded Jumbos will face off with No. 8 seeded Amherst on Friday, as well as sixth seeded Wesleyan playing 11th seeded Connecticut College and No. 7 Bowdoin taking on No. 10 Hamilton. If the Jumbos win they will play No. 1 Trinity on Saturday at 9 am. If they fall to Amherst they will face off with the loser of the Wesleyan and Connecticut College match on Saturday at 10 am.
The Jumbos would need to win on Friday, then top first seeded Trinity on Saturday, then beat the winner of the Williams and Colby match in order to advance to the championship on Sunday at 1:30.
For the complete NESCAC men’s squash preview, click HERE.